Welcome back my dear readers!
Recently I grabbed my old 1st Edition Warhammer book, jumped over a few pages and found the alignment section because one of my friends asked what type of characters I like to play. My answer? Scoundrel. Then he asked “Like Han Solo?” And I said: nope, more the “devil on your shoulder” type… So today, we’re going to think about being evil…
What is evil? According to Wikipedia, “evil” is “the violation
of, or the intent to violate, some moral code.” Really? I don’t think so. In my opinion, far from it.
I like Warhammer because it offers some short descriptions & examples of alignments.
- Good stands for “natural order, peace, and beauty”, “duty and hard work”, and “learning”. Boring? Yes!
- Evil stands for “avarice and materialism,” “crime and immorality,” “self-glorification”, and “violence.” Stupid? Yes!
I write about Warhammer, but this view is typical to many fantasy RPGs.
By these descriptions if you boil it down, to play a “good” guy, you probably love My Little Pony or The Care Bears. Obviously this is a bit crazy!
Being good is about being generous. It’s about rising above those all too human behaviors like pettiness and greed. It’s about being able to sacrifice your own comfort to help others. It’s about not judging them solely on points of law but to see them as human beings with all the defects that includes. Being “good” is to be above all of this and to shine for brief moments when others are ready to go with mob rule rather than thinking to a logical conclusion. Being good is the ability to climb those inhuman peaks and empathize with your fellow man.
But being good as a PC doesn’t mean playing a boring wimp. It’s about being able to forgive in that moment when the angry, bloodthirsty mob is ready to carry out the will of the people over due process. Being good also means being a rebel! Yes, a rebel! Like Jesus was or Gandhi – being good can take amazing courage in the face of intolerance and adversity.
And what about being evil? Is it all about materialism and violence? Come on people! Evil is about being hooligan (or a Wall Street CEO)!
Was Darth Vader materialistic? Did he simply seek opportunities to commit a crime because he wanted to? Heck no! Being evil is about undermining the beliefs of ordinary people, not robbing banks!
Being evil is not about forcing somebody to rob a bank. It’s about convincing somebody to HELP you rob a bank. Small difference? Nope. Huge one.
To be clear… Imagine a PC going to a tavern. What can he do? Start a fight? Sure. But is he looking to get into a fight himself or does he simply love a good riot? What would an evil PC do? He’d convince another PC or NPC to start the fight with that dwarf at the end of the bar and then watch the fireworks…
For me, being evil is about using somebody’s weakness and exploiting it. Little problems blow up quickly and can sometime become horrible mistakes. Being evil is about manipulation. Convincing somebody to do something the wrong way. Evilness is discrete and hard to spot. An evil PC will encourage other PC to do things they do not really want to do, but they might have thought about doing. Manipulation. Corruption. Breaking the rules. These encompass what “evil” is to me. Coming back to the Bible for a moment, Satan wasn’t doing anything bad by himself – he was just offering different options. He was playing on the emotions and desires of other people. Imagine your best friend, the person you trust to discuss all of your dilemmas with and help you make a choice. That’s the perfect place for someone evil to take advantage of a moment of weakness.
So remember my fellow gamers – being good or evil is something exceptional. It means your PC takes a higher or lower road than the average person. As such, it can be a big challenge.
What do you think about this? Tell me. Next time I want to discuss my approach to “law” and “chaos”!
- Ancient Scroll’s Secret Room: You Are Under Arrest! (gameknightreviews.com)
- Badass Darth Vader and Skeletor Mashup Design – Skelavader (geektyrant.com)
- Darth Vader vs. Hitler – Epic Rap Battles of History (geektyrant.com)
- Reverb Gamers #11 – Playing Morally Gray Characters from Pyres of Vam ” rpgs (pyresofvam.com)